Economic activity has halved in Spain during coronavirus lockdown

MacCaLM researcher Sevi Mora and coauthors have published a study using almost one and a half billion bank transactions to track the economic impact of Spain’s coronavirus lockdown in real time.

The study, conducted by the universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Imperial College and in collaboration with BBVA, analysed 1.4 billion anonymised credit and debit card transactions during the first three months of 2020 revealing that spending in Spain post-lockdown was an average of 49% lower than the same date the previous year.

MacCaLM researcher Professor Sevi Rodriguez Mora, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Economics, said: “Over the coming weeks governments will grapple with how to relax social distancing measures, but have few means of understanding the impact of different policies on economic activity.

“Transaction data can provide immediate feedback on how spending patterns across space and sectors react to restriction measures, but also their relaxation.”

“Given that this seems to be happening in Spain before the rest of Europe and America, whatever happens in Spain will show us what we should expect everywhere else.”

Álvaro Ortiz, Head of Big Data at BBVA Research, added: “Tracking these kind of events in real time and high definition provides an important strategic advantage for policy makers, as they can react more quickly to limit the economic damage.”

Read the full study here.